Saturday is typically known as the premiere day at the NFL Combine, mostly due to the QBs. This year was no different as the biggest name of the entire event is a QB. However, that man, Kyler Murray of Oklahoma, was not doing any of the on-field drills. Despite him not showing off his athletic ability, there was an abundance of talent on the field. We not only got to see the future starting QBs of the NFL, but also the ones they will be throwing to as the WRs and TEs also took the field.
We didn’t see Kyler Murray throw and despite him measuring at 5’10, if you were worried about his height before, I don’t think that really solves anything. Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, Drew Lock of Missouri, and Daniel Jones of Duke are almost guaranteed to be the 1st four taken and all will be gone by early 2nd round. Three of them have a chance to go within the 1st 13-15 picks. It may not be a great year for QBs, but if you are patient enough to develop, there are some gems that will be available.
Tyree Jackson of Buffalo showed off some impressive athleticism on the field. He had a 4.59 forty, led all QBs with a 34.5 inch vertical, led all QBs with a 10-foot broad jump, and was top 5 in both the 3-cone drill and the 20-yard sprint. Keep in mind that Jackson was doing this after measuring in at a whopping 6’7 249 pounds and you get a better feel of how impressive his day way. He still has a long way to go in terms of being ready to start for an NFL team, but he will be a big piece of clay for someone to mold.
There wasn’t anyone that I thought had a bad day. Ryan Finley of NC St didn’t do well in the athletic drills, but he did throw the ball well. Daniel Jones is someone who hasn’t really impressed me this year and he failed to do it again. He was inconsistent with his passing and he was near the bottom of a lot of the athletic testing. Jones is someone who is being looked at as a top 20 pick, but if it was up to me, he would be closer to the 3rd round than the top 20.
Wide Receivers Group
Unfortunately, due to injury, Marquise Brown of Oklahoma was not able to compete in the on-field drills, but as I mentioned in the measurements article, this year is filled with a lot of talent. There is a wide variety of WRs in this year’s group including big WRs, fast WRs, and quick WRs. They showcased their talents and whether you need a slot WR, a red zone target, or even a KR/PR, you could find them in this year’s class. With that said, let’s get to the ones that stood out, for both good and bad reasons.
Wide Receivers Highlight
This could be an article upon itself. You can go anywhere to see what a beast of an athlete DK Metcalf is, but I want to talk about the lesser known guys. Miles Boykin of Notre Dame made himself a lot of money. At 6’4 220 pounds, Boykin ran a 4.42 forty, with a record broad jump for WRs (for 5 mins till Emanuel Hall beat it by 1 inch), and the best vertical at 43.5 inches. In addition to those numbers, he also had the fastest 3-cone drill of everyone at 6.77 seconds and the 3rd fastest 20-yard sprint at 4.07.
Wide Receivers Disappointment
There were not too many disappointing efforts on the field, but it’s probably a day that that Cavin (Riley) Ridley probably would love to forget. Ridley has been a polarizing figure for most of this draft season. The side that supported him as a top 5-7 WR took a hit. Riley’s name was near the bottom of almost every athletic test. When you combine that with people that already questioned his extremely low production, he may have cost himself being taken on day two.
Tight Ends Group
Make no mistake about it, there is a clear consensus of the top three TEs. TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant of Iowa, along with Irv Smith of Alabama will be the 1st three TEs selected unless someone is trying to sabotage their own team. However, there are a good 6-7 other TEs that can all go, in any order, right after them, starting from the 2nd half of round two. Coming into today, Jace Sternberger of Texas A&M and Kaden Smith of Stanford were two guys that needed to stand out to solidify their top five TE status.
Tight Ends Highlight
It’s easy to just say Hockenson and Fant were highlights, but they did what they were expect to do and did not disappoint. Two players that showed themselves well were Kahale Warring of San Diego St and Josh Oliver of Toledo. Warring impressed with his athleticism as he ran a 4.67 forty to go with a 35.6 in vertical and a 10’2 broad jump. Oliver not only had good number with a 4.63 forty and a 34-inch vertical, but he also performed well in the catching drills which included one handed catch while in mid spin.
Tight Ends Disappointment
Irv Smith was not bad, but compared to Hockenson and Fant, he was. He ran 4.63 forty, which paled in comparison to Fant’s 4.50. It was faster than Hockenson, but he’s also 10 pounds smaller. He also had a broad jump that was a foot shorter than Hockenson and a foot and half behind Fant. His vertical was 32.5 inches compared to 37.7 of Hockenson and 39.5 of Fant. Even his 3-cone drill, which is very important for TEs, was only 7.32 seconds. Hockenson and Fant’s were 7.02 and 6.81 respectively.
It’s amazing that the biggest star of the combine was someone who didn’t even do any of the testing or the drills. Despite just coming to get measured, Kyler Murray has had his stock soar to where he is considered the favorite to be the #1 overall pick in the draft. The Arizona Cardinals and their new coach, Kliff Kingsbury, seem to have fallen in love with Murray. Kingsbury was his coach in 2015, at Texas Tech, so it is no surprise, but with Josh Rosen drafted in the 2018 1st round, this situation is the one to watch.